Empty Nest Syndrome

Our wonderful contributing editor, Sally Edelstein, adds more reverie to the thoughts on today’s graduates:

Education-Graduation-Tears

Thoughts in a Mothers Eye -Vintage Gruen Watches Ad 1945

To the click of camera shutters and the ring of stirring oratory, hundreds of thousands of students have stepped forward this spring to receive diplomas from the colleges and universities of our vast country, thus marking an age-old rite of passage into the American Dream.

Amidst the ivy-covered towers of venerable universities, that familiar ritual characterized by cheers and tears has been repeated for generations.

Like many parents of past generations, today’s teary eyed baby boomers are gripped with a host of feelings – sadness, depression, grief and worry. But for today’s parent their constellation of feelings is less about the loss of their child moving on as the fading dream of their own retirement.

Ever the ground-breakers, boomer parents are gripped by a new condition-empty nest syndrome.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Visions of that dream retirement home deep in the blue mountains of Asheville, North Carolina get dimmer with each day as savings are slowly dwindling between supporting their adult children and aging parents.

As more boomerang kids live at home due to the bleak job market, and the elderly life expectancy is ever-increasing, feathering the boomers nest egg becomes an impossibility, as much as an outmoded pipe dream as that high paying job is for their kid.

Sandwiched between the millenials and the greatest generation, baby boomers may soon go bust.

Now that’s something to get teary over.

 

A Soaring Economy

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The Soaring American Economy Special issue Life Magazine 1/5/53

The soaring economy of post war America was the gold standard for the American Dream.

The people of Mid-Century America had never been more prosperous, never had Dad, the breadwinner, taken home so much money.

The soaring strength of the roaring bull market was at an all time high symbolizing confidence in the Capitalist system. American industries were the symbol of our strength, and like the biceps of the healthy and strong, spoke of the wisdom of our ways.

In early January of 1953 Life Magazine published a special issue devoted solely to the booming American economy. Entitled “The American and His Economy,” it was an unabashed love letter to this record-breaking economic splendor.

A Land of Good n’ Plenty

economy-capitalist-profits

Mid-Century Businessmen were sitting pretty (L) Illustration from Martin Aircraft 1946 (R)

“During the past dozen years or so,” the magazine begins in an introduction written by social historian Frederick Lewis Allen, “we have been watching in the United States something close to a miracle…The once sick American economy has become the wonder of the modern world.”

The articles then go on to boast: “In two decades the U.S. has by-passed the methods and exceeded the goals which old-fashioned socialism had set up as ideals for an economic society.”

“It has achieved instead something totally new and something infinitely better.”

“More or less unconsciously the nation has pulled off a major social revolution. The means to this end have been historically unique, a process mainly of grading society up from the bottom rather than down from the top.”

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American Abundance for all Vintage ad Wheaties sweepstakes 1958

“Most of the change has been wrought by a simple but bold economic idea: more of everything for everybody.”

“It is an idea of production and consumption rather than conservation and thrift.”

“Some of the results are far-reaching:

  • More Americans now own their homes than rent.
  • Since 1929, the US has moved halfway toward equality of income for all members of the population.
  • The US has reached a state almost unique in history where increase in population means increase in prosperity.

 The 99%

For Mr and Mrs America, the factory workers, engineers, housewives and business managers, the issue never lets us forget that, “the US is still a place to get rich quick and honestly.”

A Confident Future

economy-capitalist-wall-street

Money to Burn in a Booming Economy (L) Vintage illustration Wall Street from “The Romance of Capitalism” 1958 by Donald Cooke (R) Money to burn illustration from vintage American Airlines ad 1953

And finally, to answer for the reader the most important question of all about their economy the article asks: “Where are we going from here and what will happen to me?”

According to the giddy experts, there was no end in sight for this soaring economy.

The bull in our soaring bull market was a symbol that the US could compete and win.

And in this land of good and plenty one thing we were never short of was confidence.

A Bull Market Indeed!

Copyright (©) 20013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved